|Milan Lucic: ‘That was the toughest battle we’ve had’||11.16.11 at 8:47 am ET|
The Bruins knew defending their Stanley Cup perch would be difficult.
But eventually, they also knew they would be up to the challenge.
And the challenge that came Tuesday night from a hard-working, big, strong and physical Devils squad was the toughest yet this season. At least, according to Milan Lucic.
“Yeah, definitely I have to say out of all the games so far through the season that was definitely the toughest battle that we’ve had,” Lucic said. “And we needed to dig real deep to get a win in this one and we definitely had to fight to the end. And we showed a lot of character, sticking to the game plan and finding a way. Obviously they came at us real hard and they’re a hard team to play against and we were able to find a way and get a good one here.”
The Bruins took the quick 2-1 lead six seconds into the third period, only to have the Devils come back two minutes later for the equalizer.
“This is definitely one that we had to earn and it was one that, when we get the lead they come back and score, it’s easy to get down and get discouraged,” Lucic said. “But we were able to find a way and keep pushing and keep finding a way to push for more and in that third period I think we had eighteen shots which goes to show that we really wanted to win this one.”
The Bruins have scored 34 goals in their six-game winning streak but Tuesday was the first one of the six they really had to sweat out in the end.
“I know this is one of the toughest wins that we’ve had,” Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. “Probably the toughest win out of the six games that we’ve had. They really tested us, they really worked hard, they really played a good game. We just stayed with it, and we were the ones that had the ability to turn it on the last ten minutes, and were able to pull out the win because of that.
“We’ve had a couple of games where everything went our way, kind of easier wins, and this was a good wake up call without having to pay the price because we were able to get out of it with the win. You know, this is the way it’s going to be the majority of the time, it’s not always going to be the way it has been the last three or four games. And so it’s a good experience for our team, I think.”
|Ryan Miller: ‘I didn’t know [Bruins] were all doctors’||11.15.11 at 3:06 pm ET|
Miller suffered a concussion Saturday night when Lucic hit him in the Sabres’ zone after the two were racing for the puck.
“I’m not as well as I’d like to be, but considering, I feel alright,” Miller said. “My neck is pretty sore. I’m trying to figure out if that’s more of a source of headaches or if what I’m really feeling was my head really started hurting.
“You always are concerned. Last year I thought I had a very simple ‘get your bell rung,’ and I missed five games. This, I don’t know how to put a timeline on it, but I am encouraged that my neck feels better. Once that really feels good, I can start to make my way back.”
Lucic said Monday that he was “surprised” to hear that Miller had a concussion because contact was never made with the head on the play. He added that Miller could have perhaps suffered the injury later in the period when Tyler Seguin crashed into the net. Miller isn’t the biggest Lucic fan out there, so he was rubbed the wrong way the remarks.
“The one thing I was disappointed with the assessment or what came out of Boston and some of what came out of the league was it wasn’t a head shot, so that was their conclusion to why the concussion maybe didn’t come from that,” he said. “I didn’t know they were all doctors. Concussions are caused by many things, one of them including a whiplash motion that sends your brain moving laterally or however you’re hit. It doesn’t need to be a direct impact. That fact alone, I’m rolling my eyes.”
The two teams will meet again a week from Wednesday.
When word came down Sunday night that Milan Lucic had been called to the proverbial principal’s office for his hit on Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller, there were different reactions from different places. It kept what’s been an interesting conversation going just a little bit longer, and while the conversation can stop for now, you have to imagine both teams have Nov. 23 circled.
While Bruins fans were surprised that Brendan Shanahan would consider suspending Lucic for the play, it seems non-Bruins fans were rooting for the B’s to get their comeuppance.
In the end, Shanahan opted against suspending Lucic, saying he found out all he needed to regarding intent on a play in which the two players were racing for a puck in the Sabres’ zone. The lack of suspension means the red-hot Bruins can breathe a sigh of relief, and it likely gives the Sabres all the more motivation to respond when the teams meet a week from Wednesday in Buffalo. Things figure to get more interesting than they already are.
The play itself remains a popular topic of debate. Lucic was chasing the puck after blocking a shot, but Miller came way out of his net to clear it before getting hit. One popular line of thinking among fans around the net was that Miller shouldn’t have come so far out of the net, as skating that far out makes him fair game.
The response to that, of course, is a simple, “um’¦ no.” As Rule 42.1 (charging) states, “a goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease area.” As such, Lucic was assessed the correct penalty when the refs sent him to the box for two minutes on a charging call.
Then there’s the picture that a disciplinary hearing paints for Lucic. The left wing prides himself on being a power forward who has no shortage of grit or offensive skill, but such hearings are never a good thing. While he is not a dirty player, this wasn’t the first time he found himself being criticized for an ill-advised play. The one suspension of Lucic’s career came in Game 2 of the first round against the Habs in 2009, when Lucic cross-checked Maxim Lapierre in the head. More recently, his punch to the head of then-Thrashers defenseman Freddy Meyer last season (which did follow a high hit from Meyer and got him a match penalty and an automatic hearing) last December and a sucker-punch to Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman in Game 1 of the conference finals a season ago provide Lucic-bashers with plenty of ammunition.
Claude Julien defended Lucic Monday, saying the 23-year-old goes hard at all times, so much so that he accidentally did the same thing to coach Geoff Ward in a practice last season, knocking Ward down much like he did to Miller.
As for the Sabres, it seems they can’t catch a break. With Miller out with a concussion, Jhonas Enroth started in his place Monday night and was knocked down when Habs defenseman Erik Cole hit him in the crease. Cole was assessed an interference minor, while the entire Sabres’ bench was likely scratching their heads over the luck of their netminders.
Regardless of who’s in net on the 23rd, things figure to be interesting. Tim Thomas admitted Saturday that he was on his toes following the Lucic hit, as he thought a Sabres player might take a run at him. After the Sabres failed to respond at all Saturday, one would think they’ll try to correct that in the next meeting.
For now, the book can be closed on the matter, but next Wednesday figures to be a different story.
|Milan Lucic won’t be suspended for hit on Ryan Miller||11.14.11 at 3:48 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic will not be suspended or fined after his hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Monday. Lucic had a phone hearing with Shanahan over his first-period hit on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in Saturday’s game.
“I had the hearing because I did make an initial assessment of the play as I do with all plays, but I did have some questions for Milan and I wanted to hear directly from him,” Shanahan told NHL.com following the hearing. “They were regarding his intent; at what point did he know there was going to be a collision; and whether or not he felt he had the time to avoid the collision. I was satisfied with his answers.”
Lucic was given a charging minor for the play in which he and Miller were chasing a puck in Sabres’ zone. Miller got there first and cleared the puck, but Lucic followed through with his hit. Shanahan said the call made on the ice was the correct one given that Rule 42.1 states “a goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease area.”
WILMINGTON — Count Bruins forward Milan Lucic among those surprised to hear that Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller suffered a concussion on Lucic’s hit on the goaltender Saturday night. Lucic said after Monday’s practice that his confusion comes from the fact that though his helmet came off, contact was not made with his head.
“I’ve looked at the hit 100 times because he said he got a concussion. I looked at it, and his shoulder hit my chest, so there was no hit to his head. His helmet came flying off, but his head didn’t hit the ice and later on in that period, one of their guys lifted [Tyler Seguin]’s stick and threw him into the net as well, so who knows what it was? It was obviously unfortunate to hear that he got hurt on the play.”
Lucic also pointed to the fact that Miller stayed in the game after the first-period play and played the entire second period before leaving the game. Players are required to leave the ice and go to a designated quiet room if they suspect they may have suffered a head injury.
“Was I surprised? Yeah, because with the new protocol and the concussion stuff, I know the last there NHLPA meetings that I’ve been a part of, they’re clarifying about concussions and head injuries,” Lucic said. “The main thing that they talked about is that there’s no such thing as getting your bell rung or seeing stars anymore. That’s considered a concussion, and if you’re in that position, you have to do whatever you can to take yourself out of play.”
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|Ryan Miller (concussion) out indefinitely, Milan Lucic has hearing with Brendan Shanahan||11.13.11 at 9:08 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic has a hearing scheduled with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for Monday at 1 pm, according to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The hearing will determine whether Lucic is suspended for Saturday’s first-period play in which he hit Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.
While Lucic may miss time due to the play, Miller definitely will. The Sabres announced Sunday that the goaltender, who called Lucic “gutless” after the game, suffered a concussion from the hit and will be out indefinitely.
|Ryan Miller thinks Milan Lucic is a ‘piece of [expletive]’ and Tim Thomas can see why he was surprised by hit||11.12.11 at 11:14 pm ET|
Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was asked following Saturday night’s 6-2 loss to the Bruins whether he was injured when B’s left wing Milan Lucic charged him in the first period, but he wasn’t interested in talking about himself. He was interested in expressing his thoughts on Lucic and the dirty hit.
“I’m not going to really get into that,” Miller said of his physical condition. “I just stuck around because I just want to say what a piece of [expletive] I think Lucic is. Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that. It’s unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless. Gutless, piece of [expletive].”
Lucic blocked a shot and was chasing a puck into the Sabres’ zone when Miller darted out of his net to clear the puck. Upon Miller getting there first and sending the puck aside, Lucic didn’t stop in time, barreling over the netminder and sending his helmet off. Lucic was given a charging minor for the play.
“Well I blocked a shot, and it’s a race for a puck, and I mean I just put my head down and tried to get to it first,” Lucic said. “And next thing I looked up he was out of his net and it was a collision. So I mean obviously going into a situation like that I’m going to brace myself. And I was going full speed so it was pretty hard for me to put on the brakes. So that’s basically it.”
While he didn’t seem nearly as upset with the play as Miller, Tim Thomas did seem to understand Miller’s unhappiness with the play.
“I will say that as a goalie, you’re not really prepared for people to hit you in a situation like that,” Thomas said. “You’ve been trained over the course of your whole career [to believe] you’re not going to get hit in situations like that. It must have taken him by surprise.”
There was no retaliation on Lucic, so Thomas was prepared for the possibility of the Sabres going after him.
“Basically, from my perspective, after that happened, [I was] just trying to make sure I was on my toes,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know if there would be kind of a retribution hit. That’s kind of the old school way.”
If there were to be a hit on Thomas, Lucic said he and the Bruins would have reacted much more than the Sabres did.
“Definitely. You know, we wouldn’t accept anything like that,” Lucic said. “We would have [taken] care of business. But we’re a different team than they are.”